RFID Helps Libraries in the UK

When you think of a library, the words “cutting-edge” and “high-tech” might not immediately come to mind, but libraries throughout the UK are receiving an upgrade to advance their check-in check-out processes. Rather than using manned checkout counters, visitors simply use RFID kiosks to check-out, return or renew books, and even pay fees.

In order to return a book, patrons simply place the book in a tray on the kiosk, press a “return” button, and then the screen indicates which bin the book should be placed in. For checkout, the library card just needs to be held near the kiosk’s barcode scanner, and then the books/media can be placed in a tray. The 13.56 MHz interrogator captures their ID number and then transfers the data to the library management system (LMS). With RFID technology, the items’ status in the LMS is automatically updated and instructs visitors on how to sort the returned items, ensuring that they are placed back on the shelves with the utmost speed.

Such RFID implementations are rapidly increasing throughout the United Kingdom, in addition to other parts of Europe. Adoption in North America and Asia has been slower, but on an international level, approximately 5 percent of all libraries are now using RFID technology, with annual growth rates expected to be over 25%.

In addition to facilitating check-in check-out processes, RFID technology also assists libraries with their security systems, allowing the to integrate with the LMS. Can you see your local library implementing RFID within the next few years?